Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION
Posted: 05/22/2013 1:00 AM | Comments: 0
Last Modified: 05/22/2013 7:39 AM | Updates
Deputy mayor Russ Wyatt's drive to sell one Winnipeg golf course and lease four others has already landed out of bounds, as opponents appear to have enough votes to kill the proposal at city council next week.
On May 29, council will consider a plan to sell the city-owned John Blumberg golf course and sign a 20-year lease with Conestoga, Ont., operator GolfNorth Properties to run and maintain courses at Kildonan Park, Crescent Park, Harbour View and Windsor Park.
A two-thirds majority of the 16-member council will be required to approve the lease. Declaring the John Blumberg site surplus requires only a simple majority, but actually selling the land will require approval from two-thirds of council.
If the plan is not amended before next week, it is already dead, as seven of 16 councillors have problems with all or part of the proposal as well as a $90,000 city advertising campaign intended to garner public support for the plan.
"In light of what's taken place, I don't know how I can support it," Charleswood-Tuxedo Coun. Paula Havixbeck said Tuesday, adding her name to the list of councillors planning to give a red light to a plan to sell and lease the greens.
Couns. Brian Mayes (St. Vital), Dan Vandal (St. Boniface), Jenny Gerbasi (Fort Rouge-East Fort Garry), Ross Eadie (Mynarski) and Harvey Smith (Daniel McIntyre) had already declared they will vote against the golf-course plan for a variety of reasons.
Mayes questioned the financial assumptions underpinning the city's rationale for eliminating the golf courses. Vandal chafed at the expenditure of public funds on an ad campaign that originally included an attempt to lobby city council itself.
Both plan to vote against the golf-course proposal this morning when it comes before executive policy committee. That vote is expected to be 4-3 against if the proposal is not amended.
Point Douglas Coun. Mike Pagtakhan, who also sits on EPC, will vote against the proposal if the John Blumberg sale is not severed from the lease of the four other courses.
He said he supports the GolfNorth lease but not the Blumberg sale, which he describes as "coming out of the blue" without any consultation with councillors or the RM of Headingley, where the 81-hectare site is located.
"We're going to need to split this up," Pagtakhan said Tuesday.
Havixbeck also said her "no" vote is conditional, suggesting the golf-course proposal could make the cut if Transcona Coun. Wyatt and Mayor Sam Katz, the main proponents of the plan, hold a council seminar on it and consider amendments.
Even if Pagtakhan and Havixbeck can be placated, no more than one more councillor could vote against the lease. Three more potential "no" votes exist -- those of undecided Couns. Justin Swandel (St. Norbert), John Orlikow (River Heights-Fort Garry) and Devi Sharma (Old Kildonan).
If the plan's defeat appears imminent, Katz and Wyatt have the option of withdrawing it from the floor of council next week. In 2012, widespread public opposition to the proposed sale of downtown surface lot Parcel Four to an Alberta water-park developer led to the withdrawal of that idea.
Public opposition to the golf-course proposal does not appear anywhere near as widespread as the wave of outrage over the water park last year. While the Canadian Union of Public Employees Local 500 and several community groups vocally oppose the golf-course plan, several councillors said their constituents are more outraged about the $90,000 ad campaign.
On Tuesday, Wyatt remained committed to the golf-course proposal, insisting it will save the city money and address concerns originally raised by an audit of the Golf Services special operating agency.
"Whether this council has the courage to make the right decision or not, the auditor's conclusions and the Golf SOA losses will not go away," he said in a statement.
Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition May 22, 2013 A3
Updated on Wednesday, May 22, 2013 at 7:39 AM CDT: replaces photo, adds fact box
Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories? Please use the form below and let us know.
Having problems with the form?Contact Us Directly
Governor takes National Guard out of Ferguson
Heavy rains cause flooding around Winnipeg
Dozens gather to honour memory of Faron Hall
Far from last dance
Three mayoral candidates snubbed by Downtown BIZ
Missing, murdered women a job for police: PM
Back to B.C. for CEO's family
PCs criticize government spending on 'boastful' ads at construction projects
Havixbeck wants Mealshare program for Winnipeg to help soup kitchens
Companies must be transparent: watchdog
Most appeals granted, benefits tribunal says
Al's Brink expected to take the field against former Bomber teammates Friday
Gas leak forces evacuations in the Maples
Vegas trip, payouts questioned
American Ebola doc: 'I am thrilled to be alive'
Israel kills 3 Hamas military commanders in Gaza
Province launches consultations on new chartered professional accountant designation
Hwy. 1 reopened after collision
Man sought in connection with gas station robbery on Kenaston
Man suffers serious injuries after getting stabbed in Carlton and Graham area
Police looking for teen who groped woman near Netley Street and North Drive
'Pulling out all of the stops'
Man sought after Portage la Prairie home invasion
Man charged after cellphone found recording in women's washroom
Manitoba farmers expect solid soybean harvest, but decline in other crops
Local doctor pioneered child-abuse investigations
Have we reached a turning point?
Harper embarking on annual northern tour
Police looking for man after girls approached
Man charged after drug bust on Sargent turns up marijuana, cash
Rom-com’s title raises eyebrows in the U.S.
Dreary weekend in store for southern Manitoba
Imam to draw attention to threat of ISIS
Firefighters battle overnight blazes
A Pollyanna approach to teaching environmentalism that’s less depressing
Pleasure in the park
The stories they could tell
Boarders gather in Headingley for national championship
Old TV show gave novelist time and place for Outlander series
Irish peacemaker, ex-premier Reynolds dies at 81